Don’t fly drones through fireworks

Fireworks are best viewed from the ground.
Fireworks are best viewed from the ground.
Image: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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It’s that time of the year again in the US, where we celebrate our independence by blowing a small part of it up.

If you own a drone and are thinking about using it to capture some amazing footage of fireworks at July 4 celebrations this year, please think twice. As the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reminded us last week: “Fireworks, drones and airplanes don’t mix.”

Here are the very simple rules the FAA asks everyone to follow:

  • Don’t fly your drone in or near fireworks
  • Don’t fly over people
  • Don’t fly near airports

Depending on local regulations, flying over people can be a criminal offense. And flying over fireworks really just isn’t a great idea. Unless you’re a very skilled pilot, it’s difficult to navigate around randomly exploding fireworks. If you’re not careful, your expensive drone can end up careening to earth as a firework itself.

And if you’re new to flying drones, you’ll still have to follow all the other drone regulations, including ensuring that you register your drone with the FAA, never fly above 400 ft, and always keep your drone flying where you can see it.

There’s always another option, though: Light shows made up of drones, instead of fireworks, are an increasingly popular, and greener, idea.